Objectives: To evaluate the effect of specific education of midwives on stopping smoking in pregnant women and to determine the effect of this programme on pregnancy outcome.
Design: A prospective intervention study.
Setting: Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.
Population and methods: A group of midwives (9 out of 54) was taught the effects of smoking during pregnancy and instructed in various methods of educating women to stop smoking. All pregnant women who attended antenatal care from October 1994 to September 1995 were either in the intervention group (n = 527) or the control group (n = 2629). Pregnant women attending the specifically educated midwives were considered to be the intervention group. They were given individual advice about stopping smoking at the first antenatal visit at about 16 weeks of gestation and a leaflet on smoking and pregnancy.
Results: At the first antenatal visit at about 16 weeks of gestation, 22% of the pregnant women smoked. Between the first visit and the routine visit at 30 weeks of gestation 51 (2%) stopped smoking and 56 (2%) started smoking. No differences were found between the intervention group and the control group in the rate of stopping smoking, validated by cotinine measurements. Mean birthweight, mean gestational age and the proportion of preterm birth in the two groups were similar.
Conclusion: Education of midwives and integration of advice about smoking cessation at a low cost in routine antenatal care failed to affect smoking habits among pregnant women.